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She lived unmarried, to extreme old age, and care fully preserved the poems which he had given her during their intercourse, to the end of her life.

At the age of thirty-one, the little patrimony, which had been left Cowper by his father, was well nigh spent. At this time, his uncle, who had the place at his disposal, offered him the clerkship of the Journals of the House of Lords. Cowper gladly accepted the offer, as the business being transacted in private, would be especially suited to his disposition, which was shy and reserved to a remarkable degree. But some political opposition arising, it was found necessary that he should prepare himself for an examination at the bar of the House. And now began a course of mental suffering, such as, perhaps, has never been described, except in his own fearful “ Memoir.” “I knew” says he, “to demonstration, that on these terms, the clerkship of the Journals was no place for me, to whom a public exhibition of myself on any occasion, was mortal poison.” As the time for his examination approached, his distress of mind increased. He even hoped, and expected, that his intellect would fail him, in time to excuse his appearance at the bar.

“But the day of decision drew near” he continues, “and I was still in my senses. At last came the grand temptation ;-the point, to which Satan had all the time been driving me; the dark and hellish purpose of self-murder.” In short, after several irresolute attempts at suicide, by poison and drowning, Cowper actually hanged himself to the door of his chamber; and only escaped death by the breaking of his garter, by which he was suspended. All thoughts of the office were now, of course, given up. His insanity remained, but its form was somewhat modified. He was no longer disposed to suicide, but “conviction of sin, and especially of that just committed," and despair of God's mercy, were now never chant from his thoughts. In every book that he opened he

found something which struck him to the heart, He almost believed that the voice of his conscience was loud enough for any one to hear;' and he thought that “ the people in the street stared and laughed” at him. When he attempted to repeat the creed, which he did, in experiment of his faith, he felt a sensation in his brain, “like a tremulous vibration of all its fibres," and thus lost the words; and he therefore concluded, in unspeakable agony, that he had committed the unpardonable sin. At length, he became a raving madman, and his friends now placed him at St. Albans, under the care of Dr. Cotton, a skilful and humane physician. Sometime previous to his removal to St. Albans, Cowper wrote the following Stanzas, descriptive of his state of mind :

Hatred and vengeance-my eternal portion
Scarce can endure delay of execution-
Wait with impatient readiness to seize my

Soul in a moment.

Damned below Judas; more abhorred than he was
Who for a few pence sold his holy Master!
Twice betrayed Jesus me, the last delinquent,

Deems the profanest.
Man disavows, and Deity disowns me.
Hell might afford my miseries a shelter;
Therefore, Hell keeps her ever-hungry mouths all

olted against me.
Hard lot! encompassed with a thousand dangers;
Weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors,
I'm called in anguish to receive a sentence

Worse than Abiram's. “ This,” says Southey," was the character of his madness -- the most dreadful in which madness can present itself. He threw away the Bible, as a book in which he no longer had any interest or portion. A vein of self

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loathing and abhorrence ran through all his insanity, and he passed some months in continual expectation that the Divine vengeance would instantly plunge him into the bottomless pit. But horrors in madness are like those in dreams; the maniac and the dreamer seem to undergo what could not possibly be undergone by one awake or in his senses." With Dr. Cotton, Cowper remained five months, without amendment; but after discovering ra rious symptoms of returning reason, during the next three

my despair," he says, “suddenly took wings, and left me in joy unspeakable, and full of glory." When his recovery was

considered complete, his relatives subscribed an annual allowance, just sufficient, with his own small means, to support him respectably in retirement, and sent him to reside at Huntingdon. Hero he soon became greatly attached to the family of Mr. Unwin, a clergyman, in whose house he finally took up his abode. From this excellent family he never separated, until death dissolved their connexion. Mrs. Unwin, the “Mary” of one of his most popular minor poems, was his friend in health, and his nurse in sickness, for more than twenty years.

Of his way of life at Huntingdon, he thus writes : “ As to what the world calls amusements, we have none. We refuse to take part in them, and by so doing have acquired the name of Methodists. We breakfast between eight and nine : till eleven we read the Scriptures or the sermons of some faithful preacher, when we attend divine service, which is performed here, twice every day.” Walking, gardening, reading, religious conversation, and singing hymns, filled


the interval till evening, when they again had a sermon or hymns, and closed the day with family worship. “I need not say,” he continues, “that such a life as this is consistent with the utmost cheerfulness; accordingly we are all happy.” At this time Cowper had little communication with his relatives, and none with his former companions. In July 1767, Mr. Unwin died; his children had

previously settled in life; and Cowper and Mrs. Unwin uniting their means of living, now much reduced, went to reside at Olney. Here they lived many years under the pastoral care of the celebrated Mr. Newton, with whom they were in the strictest habits of personal intimacy.

“Mr. Newton,” says Southey," was a man, whom it was impossible not to admire for his strength and sincerity of heart, vigorous intellect, and sterling worth. A sincerer friend Cowper could not have found : he might have found a more discreet one.” Cowper's religious duties and exercises were now much more arduous than at Huntingdon. This “man of trembling sensibilities” attended the sick, and administered consolation to the dying; and so constantly was he employed in offices of this kind, that he was considered as a sort of curate to Mr. Newton. In the prayer meetings which Mr. Newton established, Cowper, to whom “public exhibition of himself was mortal poison," was expected to take a part. “I have heard him say,” says Mr. Greatheed, in Cowper's funeral sermon, " that when he was expected to take the lead in your social worship, his mind was always greatly agitated for some hours preceding."

Cowper's correspondence with his friends was now even more restricted than heretofore. This was partly owing to his engagements with Mr. Newton, from whom he was seldom "seven waking hours apart;" but it was the tendency of those engagements to restrict his sympathies, and render his friendships torpid. “A letter on any other subject than that of religion," he writes at this time, “is more insipid to me, than even my task was when a school-boy." He read little, and had little society except that of Mr. Newton and Mrs. Unwin; and the only really intellectual

occupation, in which he was engaged for nearly seven years, was the composition of some of the 6 Olney Hymns." This, Hayley represents as a “perilous employment” for a mind like Cowper's; “and if,” says Southey, “Cowper expressed his own state of mind in these hymns, (and that he did so, who can doubt) Hayley has drawn the right conclusion from the fact.” His malady was now about to return.

Its recurrence has been referred to various causes ;-the death of his brother, and a supposed engagement of marriage with Mrs. Unwin, have both been adduced, as the probable occasions; the latter of which, Southey considers as utterly unfounded.

Cowper's mind was, doubtless, at all times, highly susceptible of derangement from several causes. The disease, which was inherent to his constitution, only required some untoward circumstance to develop it. And the chief dis turbing influence at this time, appears to have been religious excitement. His tender, willing, and easily-troubled spirit, had so often thrilled with the exstasies of devotion ; and had so often been agitated and repulsed by those of its duties, which were uncongenial, and to him, even revolting, that it at last became epileptic. He sometimes speaks of his heart as if it was paralized; and the moaning burden of his later hymns is that he “cannot feel.” According to Mr. Newton's own account of himself, “ his name was up through the country, for preaching people mad;" it would therefore seem to follow, that he should have been the last person in the world, to take spiritual charge of had once been a madman. But from whatever cause, in January, 1773, Cowper's case had become one of decided insanity. Medical advice was not sought until eight months after this time; as Mr. Newton, believing his disease to be entirely the work of the Enemy, expected his cure only is the special interposition of Providence. « From what

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